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Friday, July 31, 2009

Artist of the Day: Peter Bjorn and John


I remember the first time I ever heard a song by the Swedish alterna-pop trio Peter Bjorn and John--- I was in my room and Mtv was blaring on the TV screen behind me (This was in 2006, on the eve of the network’s decline to the total fake-reality programming plaguing its current line-up.) When I turned around to look at the screen I saw an animated boy and girl sitting on a park bench with a caption over the brown-haired boy’s head that read, “It’s easy! Just put your lips together.” Excuse me? But what ensued was a light, airy melody composed by mankind’s greatest natural instrument—the whistle. I’m talking about the band’s first music video/single entitled, “Young Folks” of course.

I didn’t know the band or the song name for months after I saw the video, but the tune taunted me wherever I went. They even played it at Food Lion . . . . FOOD LION!

Any way, the moral of the story is this kids, a) find song names immediately after you discover you like them or b) buy an iPhone and solve all your song queries with the Shazam app, and also listen to Peter Bjorn and John or they’ll haunt you.

But maybe you want their songs to stalk you at night, watch you while you’re sleeping, or stand in the shadows at the end of your bed (oh yes I just did) because the boys have got rhythm. Just take a listen to their latest 2009 release Living Thing, which delves deeper into the world of electronic rock. This genre which includes the likes of Passion Pit, MGMT and Kid A-era Radiohead has taken a flying leap into the limelight of colleges across America and PB&J found that even they can rock the synth as well as the rest. One of the singles from Living Thing is called “It Don’t Move Me. But the song title couldn’t be any more of a contradiction because “It DO move me”---the song moves you so much, it makes you want to dance like Michael Jackson.

In yet another one of PB&J’s strangely entrancing music videos, we are introduced to a man slightly on the hefty side and a skinny Micheal Jackson wannabe, who can cut a rug just like our late great King of Pop. The kid even looks a bit like Michael especially when he is busting out Thriller moves in the middle of a dimly lit driving range. Music videos seem to be PB&J’s specialty. They reel fans in with fresh videos that are a bit quirky, but 100 percent loveable and all of a sudden you’re hooked. This could also be the reason why the group is a little under the radar since the heyday of music video has long been gone, but gaining a larger fan base could be just as easy by going on tour.

The Stockholm boys have already begun a summer tour across America with ‘80s greats Depeche Mode. Their last stop before heading to Europe will be on September 5 in Sunrise, Fla but you can catch them in Atlanta on September 1 at the Lakewood Amphitheatre.

Do yourself a favor and check their latest video “It Don’t Move Me” out and if after hearing Living Thing you decide that you can’t stop ‘til you get enough (ha) then pick up the trio’s It Don’t Move Me EP which features remixes of the single by Miike Snow and Weird Tapes.

Who’s Who: Peter Moren (vocals, guitar, harmonica) Björn Yttling (bass guitar, keyboards, and vocals) John Eriksson (drums, percussion, vocals)

Formed: 1999 in Stockholm, Sweden

Label: V2 Music

Latest Release: Living Thing (2009)

On the Web:

- Jessica Cole

Currently Listening to: "Two Weeks" by Grizzly Bear from the album Veckatimest

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